For years, Apple and Motorola were best buddies. Motorola made Jobs’ Mob’s PowerPC processors.
Afterwards Apple and Motorola cooperated on the launch of Motorola’s ROKR which was the first handset with iTunes.
However, the Motorola Droid seems to have changed all that and now the two are at each other’s throats.
Apple filed two patent infringement lawsuits against Motorola in the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, both mentioning the Droid by name. One case claims that Motorola infringes Apple’s multitouch patents. The other says that the Droid maker nicked interface elements.
Of course, Apple could say that Motorola started it all. In October it filed four lawsuits against the iPhone maker and initiated a separate proceeding with the International Trade Commission.
Nine days later, Motorola asked a federal judge in Delaware to invalidate Apple’s multitouch patents. If it won that case, Apple would lose another patent battle with that – Jobs Mob started an action against HTC earlier this year.
What is happening is that all that major smartphone players are sitting on a cache of patent portfolios and when they feel a rival is doing too well, they sue them. However, if they do start a court case then the other side will launch a patent war of its own using its pile of patents.
It has become like the nuclear deterrent theory which assumes that no company will be dumb enough to launch the first strike. Only in this case all of the manufacturers were stupid enough to do it.
All of them write their press releases saying [insert company name] has a leading intellectual-property portfolio, one of the strongest in the industry, and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves in this matter.
What will happen is that everyone will end up signing licensing agreements with one another and they will all get a percentage of their rival’s sales. But this will take many years to sort out.